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Felicity Huffman to Face Charges in Court; Interview with Kate Bedingfield, Biden Deputy Campaign Manager; New CNN Special on the History of "Friends" Airs Sunday. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired September 13, 2019 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00] PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: -- judge that she's in front of sees a docket all day long of terrorists, drug dealers, people who've committed murders. And then in comes Felicity Huffman, who used $15,000 to bribe her way into college -- or her daughter's way into college. That's a relatively minor crime on the list of federal crimes.

In addition, the prosecutor only has recommended 30 days in jail. And judges, a lot of times, compromise between what the prosecutor is asking for -- usually the toughest sentence -- and what defense attorneys are saying. And defense attorneys are saying community service and a $20,000 fine would be appropriate.

So my bet is that if she gets any jail time, it's going to be a tiny amount and she will get the fine, the $20,000 fine.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: So, Paul, of course, as you know, there are other defendants in this broader scandal here who committed worse crimes. I mean, this was a case of paying money to fake the SATs, in effect. You have others who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars --

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- to outright fake athletic achievements in high school, then reserve them positions on college sports teams, and therefore positions in the college.

If she is not sentenced here or (ph) sentenced, what does that mean for other defendants like Lori Loughlin and others who are fighting, who have not pled guilty, about what they're likely to face?

CALLAN: Well, a lot of lawyers who are looking at this, Jim, say that this may set the standard for how the parents are going to be treated in the case. But when you look at her conduct compared to some of the other parents, under the federal sentencing guidelines, one of the things they look at is, for instance, how much money was used to do the act, to bribe the way into college.

And in her case, it was $15,000. There are other parents who spent as much as $6 million to get their kids into college. So she's at the lower end of the spectrum and I think the judge is going to be conscious of that, and I think we could expect -- and she also pleaded guilty early, and accepted responsibility. That means an enormous -- SCIUTTO: Yes.

CALLAN: -- amount under the federal system. And she gets credit for that, and that will set an example, by the way, for others, maybe that it would be in their interest to plead guilty and not put the system through a trial.

HARLOW: Because not all of them (ph) --

SCIUTTO: I mean, they defrauded -- they defrauded the schools, they defrauded their kids, right? I mean, that's another headline from this, just incredible.

HARLOW: For sure, for sure. Paul, thank you. We'll see what happens. 2:30 this afternoon, she will be sentenced.

CALLAN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching. And here is "What to Watch" today.

TEXT: What to Watch... 12:00 p.m. Eastern, V.P. Pence speaks at GOP retreat; 2:30 p.m. Eastern, Sentencing for Felicity Huffman; 8:45 p.m. Eastern, Sanders holds rally in Nevada

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:33:06]

SCIUTTO: Well, the Joe Biden camp, not happy with fellow Democrats who took aim personally at the former vice president in last night's debate, saying Julian Castro, quote, "hasn't learned the lesson." We're going to speak to his deputy campaign manager, that's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: All right, welcome back. Not holding back, even with personal attacks, former Obama HUD secretary Julian Castro, questioning former Vice President Joe Biden's memory, clearly, during the debate last night. Senator Cory Booker went on the attack as well after the debate ended, when he joined us here on CNN.

This morning, top officials in the Biden camp, warning Castro has not, quote, "learned the lesson" about attacking the former vice president in personal terms.

Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for Biden 2020 is with me. And, Kate, good morning. Let's start there and then get to some of the other key issues from last night. This is what you said on another network this morning. Quote, "Secretary Castro likes to talk about who has learned the lessons of the past. I think it's very clear, he hasn't learned the lesson that attacking Joe Biden in incredibly personal terms is no way to advance yourself in the polls." What is the lesson, and from whom?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, BIDEN 2020: Well, I think a number of candidates in this race have tried, over the course of the campaign so far, to distinguish themselves or make a name for themselves or boost themselves in the polls by trying to attack Joe Biden, particularly in the debates.

And so far, that hasn't worked. I mean, Congressman Swalwell's no longer in the race, Senator Gillibrand's no longer in the race. So I think, you know, there is a very clear lesson here, that people know Joe Biden, they know who he is, they know his character, they know his empathy.

And so trying to attack him in personal terms, the way Secretary Castro did last night, with -- by the way, with an attack that was factually wrong. He was wrong on his facts as he was coming at the vice president in this very personal way --

HARLOW: OK.

BEDINGFIELD: -- I think, you know, did more damage to Secretary Castro than it did to Joe Biden.

HARLOW: Let's talk about some of the key issues here. I'd like to get your read on guns and what we heard from Beto O'Rourke last night, saying, quote, "Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15," talking about a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons.

I just had Senator Chris Coons on the program last hour, who of course is a good friend of Senator Biden. And he said to me, quote, "That clip will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies, saying that that is just going to further the narrative that Democrats want to take your guns away." What is the Biden camp's read on that this morning?

[10:40:05]

BEDINGFIELD: Well, you know, today is actually the 25th anniversary of the signing into law of the assault weapons ban, which is the only time in recent history in this country when assault weapons were illegal and not allowed to be on the streets. And the person who got that done was Joe Biden, that was his bill.

HARLOW: But this was about -- Kate, as you know --

BEDINGFIELD: So he is the person in this race who is --

HARLOW: -- I just want to distinguish for our views, because the vote -- the polling is different, the issue is different to ban them, to ban assault weapons, and to make a mandatory buyback. Does Vice President Biden support a mandatory buyback of all assault rifles?

BEDINGFIELD: He supports a voluntary buyback. He believes that we should -- we should --

HARLOW: So not mandatory?

BEDINGFIELD: -- set up a program by which --

HARLOW: Not mandatory, though? BEDINGFIELD: -- you've heard him -- Yes. You've heard him -- correct, you've heard him address this many times, actually, which is -- and I think he actually did it on this network, when he was talking to Anderson Cooper. And he said, you know, "We should set up a voluntary buyback program. There's no reason that these weapons should be on the street."

And I think if you look at his record, again, he's the only Democrat in this race who has a tangible record of accomplishment on this. He took on the NRA twice, with the assault weapons ban, and the high- capacity magazine ban, which is a critically important -- and the Brady bill, and won. And that's --

HARLOW: So, given that you guys (ph) --

BEDINGFIELD: -- you know, you talk about somebody who can take --

HARLOW: Do you guys -- I'm so sorry, we have a delay here, which makes it a little difficult. I apologize for that.

BEDINGFIELD: No problem, no problem.

HARLOW: Do you believe, then, given that he does think it should be voluntary, does he agree with Senator Coons, who just told me that basically, this did damage, what Beto O'Rourke said, did damage to the Democrats' fight on guns, saying that that clip will be played at Second Amendment rallies for years.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, look, that's for voters to decide. I mean, he's focused on making his case about taking guns -- passing sensible gun control, which is something that people support and want. I mean, the vast majority of people in this country support and want meaningful gun reform because, you know, frankly, we are the only advanced country in the world where these kinds of mass shootings happen regularly.

And, frankly, there's gun violence every day on the streets in this country, in cities around the country that is unacceptable. I mean, people are being torn away from their families. And so it's something that Vice President Biden feels personally. You know, he was very close with many of the Sandy Hook families, spoke to them in the wake of that horrible tragedy in 2012 -- 2014, excuse me.

And so this is extremely important to him, and it's something that will be a priority for him. And, frankly, it's something that he's gotten done in his career, and he's the only Democrat in this race who can say that.

HARLOW: Let's finally end on the issue of the Iraq War. This is an issue of major disagreement between Senator Sanders and Vice President Biden. Here's a little bit of what we heard on that front last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give Bush authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You talked about the big mistake in Iraq, the surge. The truth is, the big mistake, the huge mistake -- and one of the big differences between you and me -- I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: You're (ph) right (ph).

SANDERS: I voted against the war in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Kate, we know his vote to authorize the war in Iraq did two things. It allowed those inspectors in there, but it also allowed the use of force. And he said in 2003, quote, he is, quote, "not opposed to war to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq." Are you concerned about this, going forward, for the campaign? This being a sticking point, as Senator Sanders clearly will continue to point it out?

BEDINGFIELD: No, not at all. I mean, you know, to think Joe Biden was a statesman on the stage last night, across the course of the debate, in many moments. But I think in owning up to the fact that he regrets that vote, which is something that he's said for many, many years, you know, I think, stands in stark contrast to the president that we currently have in the White House, who, you know, can never exhibit any leadership or admit to any wrongdoing.

So I think, you know, it's something that Vice President Biden has spoken candidly about across the course of his career, he did that last night. But he also said, you know, that when he was in the White House with Barack Obama, Barack Obama turned to him and said, you know, "Joe, you handle Iraq and you be responsible for getting those 150,000 troops home." And he did that.

So, again, when you look at the stage and you look at the turbulence and chaos that Donald Trump has created across the world, and you think about who you want with their hand on the steering wheel, I think Vice President Biden is the person who has the experience in this race, in foreign policy, to give people a sense of security and calm and stable leadership. And I think you saw him articulate that on the debate stage last night.

HARLOW: Kate Bedingfield, we enjoyed having you. Come back. Thanks for time this morning.

BEDINGFIELD: Thanks for having me, Poppy. I appreciate it.

[10:44:53]

HARLOW: You got it. All right. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARLOW: All right. Another tropical system, expected to hit the Bahamas this weekend. That is particularly bad for, of course, the people there who are reeling, really in desperation, to recover from Hurricane Dorian.

SCIUTTO: And many, not getting the help they need now. Meteorologist Chad Myers is in the CNN Weather Center. So, Chad, in the midst of all they've gone through, how bad does this new storm look for them now?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, I mean, 50 miles per hour, four inches of rain. What they're dealing with right now at the Great Abaco Island is lightning from the sky because storms are coming in even though the center's nowhere near it.

[10:50:09]

This is where our reporters are and where all the problems really are here, in the northwest Bahamas. The lull (ph), we think, is somewhere in here, although the plane (ph) is having a very hard time finding a center right now because all the convection is way out to the east. But you can see the flow of the moisture, coming right there into Great Abaco and also into Grand Bahama.

We know that there is lightning in the sky because the radar actually here will see it, the sounding, the triangulation of the lightning, very, very close to Marsh Harbour right there, that's where people don't even have roofs over their head right now.

There is the low-pressure center, going to see, probably, about three to four inches of rain in that Marsh Harbour area. And that doesn't do any good. You think, "Oh, that might wash something away." No, they don't want anything because they don't have anything over their head.

There's one good -- there's one good thing coming out of this entire story right now, is that the water is still cold. The water in the Bahamas did not recover from what Dorian did to that water for days and days and days. It sloshed it around, it mixed it up, it isn't as warm as it could be, certainly colder than normal, even if it's only by two or three degrees, that will help.

Models will (ph) turn it off to the east, and away from the continental U.S., although still, we could see 50 or 60 mile per hour winds right along the east coast of Florida.

Remember how far behind and how badly the models did when Dorian first started? Well, this thing hasn't even started. So expect models to change, expect this forecast to be adjusted left or right, significantly. It's possible.

SCIUTTO: And we know you'll stay on top of it.

MYERS: I will.

SCIUTTO: And we commit to bring everyone the latest information we have. Chad Myers, thanks very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: The battle lines, they've been drawn as Democrats take aim at policy, even using their personal attacks, at times, against presidential debate. But does this even matter with voters? We'll have more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:56:35]

SCIUTTO: IT's been 25 years, if you can believe it, since "Friends" took over pop culture, became must-see TV every Thursday night. And now, a new CNN special, "Friends Forever: 25 Years of Laughter," looks at how it all began. Have a look.

(BEVIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Matthew Perry?

MARTA KAUFFMAN, CO-CREATOR, FRIENDS: Yes.

CAMEROTA: You really wanted him?

KAUFFMAN: He was the first person we offered Chandler to. And he was doing another show called "LAX 2194."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Sci-Fi sitcom, LAX 2194.

MATTHEW PERRY, ACTOR: It's about baggage handlers in the year 2194. I sorted out aliens' luggage.

CAMEROTA: That is not a winning title.

KAUFFMAN: No, it's not. It's not. But that was in first position.

DAVID CRANE, CO-CREATOR, FRIENDS: That happens when you find a talent that you think is perfect for a role, and you'll take the chance, the other show will fail and they'll become available.

KAUFFMAN: We were a little nervous about it, but we saw a million people, even made an offer to someone else. And --

CAMEROTA: Who?

KAUFFMAN: Oh, no.

CAMEROTA: It's the 25th anniversary, now the truth can be told.

KAUFFMAN: He's a lovely actor named Craig Bierko, and he didn't want to do an ensemble show.

CAMEROTA: I'm going to go with not Craig's best decision.

(LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: That's great. Of course, we must mention that "Friends" is owned by Warner Bros. Television, part of CNN's parent company, Warner Media.

Alisyn Camerota joins us now. So jealous. How come you get, like, the best doc ever?

CAMEROTA: Best assignment ever. We got to talk to the creators, the writers, the special guest stars. May I say, Morgan Fairchild. And it was just fantastic. I mean, what we're -- what we wanted to do with this special is peel back the curtain and find out what did make this so magical.

Because when "Friends" first aired, it was sort of written off by the critics as though it was going to be too inane, too superficial, who needs another show about a group of 20-somethings doing nothing. And this show has stood the test of time. My 14-year-old daughter loves "Friends."

HARLOW: Wow.

CAMEROTA: It is her favorite show. There's a whole crop of -- a whole new generation that loves "Friends." And so, why, you know?

HARLOW: Why not?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Alisyn, before I make the comparison to the Beatles' drummer before he got pushed out by Ringo Starr for that poor actor who could have been Chandler, tell us about the interaction among those actors. You know, obviously, they had all this great rapport on-air. Did that live off-air as well?

CAMEROTA: Yes, it did. And that was something that kept coming up, over and over, with everyone we talked to for this special. There was a certain kind of alchemy that happened, they said, at the very first table read. The first time that these six actors -- because, as you heard, there were other people that were being considered -- but somehow, when these six came together, there was this kind of, you know, just magical chemistry that ended up happening, that you -- they -- all the creators realized it has to be them, it has to be these six.

And even though, as you'll find out in the special, some of them were committed to other things, some of them, like Matthew Perry, was going to be in this weird futuristic show about a baggage handler, they had to wait it out for these other shows to fail because they believed in those six so much.

And, yes, you'll find out, also, what those six were like off-camera, and how they really did become very close-knit.

HARLOW: Love it, can't wait.

SCIUTTO: Good story. HARLOW: Ali (ph), congrats.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you so, so much.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

HARLOW: Be sure to watch "Friends Forever: 25 Years of Laughter." It is this Sunday night, 9:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

[11:00:06]

Thank you all for joining us today. We'll see you back here Monday morning.